Pip Wilkins, CEO of the British Franchise Association, is keen to see the next generation of franchisees enter this diverse and wonderful industry
The 2018 bfa NatWest Franchise Survey shows there has been considerable growth across the sector in the past three years. Not only are there more women and young people looking towards the industry for opportunities than ever before, the entrepreneurial scope is looking hungry with multi-unit ownership on the rise, jumping up to 36%, up from 29% in 2015 and 25% in 2013.
Franchising the next generation
These positive results prove what I've known for a while – a new generation of franchisees are driving the industry into a new era. To emphasise this, we’re once again partnering with ITN Productions to create the TV programme Franchising the Next Generation. This will take a comprehensive look into modern day franchising, speaking with franchisees who are behind the entrepreneurial surge and driving change to the industry.
A woman’s world
When we consider that 37% of all new franchisees in the past two years have been female and women represent 65% of the 710,000 people employed in franchising, this shows an industry that thrives and bucks trends. Amy Patel Popat, franchisee of Right at Home Solent, believes franchising has become the most sensible entrepreneurial option for women, stating: “It’s great to see the increasing number of female franchisees, which clearly shows a rise in the confidence of women who are entering the franchising and business worlds. For way too long, women have bowed out of taking on the world of self-employment, feeling they can’t balance all their different duties – as women we have many. But this is what makes us great entrepreneurs too.”
The rise of the multi-unit owner
I'm also pleased to witness how franchising is evolving, improving its standards and implementing new ideas. Nothing proves a sector is growing more than the fact people are staying in the sector and looking to expand. Clearly seeing the benefits of franchising, many people are looking to purchase another unit, maximising the opportunities in franchising and hungry to maximise their entrepreneurial spirit.
A young person's game
And perhaps it’s not just the obvious benefits of franchising that have created this multi-unit surge. 18% of all franchisees are now under 30, an incredible feat for the UK’s budding entrepreneurs and really driving home that we’re franchising the next generation. Many of these also own more than one unit, full of drive, ambition, vigour and ideas. It’s essential we provide opportunities for young people to get into business for themselves so they aspire to grow the industry in 2019 and beyond.
I sincerely believe these positive trends will continue to grow, bringing innovation and diversity. The future is bright, the future is franchising.